Edrizio De La Cruz, 33, has worked with supermarkets in his home country to set up Regalii, giving immigrants a safe, direct method to get money to their family members.
Dominican immigrant Edrizio De La Cruz sends money each month to his aunt Matilde in Santo Domingo to help her with groceries.
But instead of wiring the funds, De La Cruz, a 33-year-old recent Wharton School of Business graduate, came up with a new way to send cash — and at the same time created one of the first tech startups located in Manhattan’s Washington Heights.
“You leave part of your family behind for better opportunities here. And part of that promise is that you are going to come here, get a better job, and give back. Give money back. You do that through remittances,” he said.
However, he felt like sending cash through services like Western Union or MoneyGram was time consuming, costly and dangerous.
“Every time we sent money, she would have to get on a bus, go to the agency, wait on line, fill out a form, get the money, get on another bus, go back home, put the cash under her pillow,” said De La Cruz.
His aunt would largely spend the cash at the same supermarket.
“It made no sense to me,” he said.
De La Cruz — who immigrated to New York City when he was 11 — launched a business called Regalii, which allows immigrants to send money online, from a computer or mobile phone. The name is a play off of “regalo,” the Spanish word for gift.
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